- The HD 240 is a broadly talented boat that does not fit in the mould of the average bowrider.
- It has been carefully thought out with no space being wasted.
- In keeping with its function, it has the ability to seat the largest of families easily.
Four Winns HD 240
The American-built Four Winns HD 240 is not your average bowrider, as Greg Copp discovered when testing it in troubled waters off the northern Spanish coast …
I will confess to not being the biggest fan of a boat designed to squeeze in two families at once, but the HD 240 is anything but a marine people carrier. At a glance, it is noticeably different from the average bowrider. Her freeboard is high, and her angular lines are more Scandinavia than USA. The aim of the design is to enhance safety and provide weather protection, while slipping in versatile and spacious seating and storage arrangements. In doing so, the beam is carried fairly far forward to provide a lot of both bow and cockpit space. At the same time, a sharp forefoot, plenty of flare and a deep-vee hull make this boat capable of being more than a water-toy tractor.
It wasn’t an ideal day for testing a family-orientated boat, but it was perfect for exploring the hidden side of the HD 240. With a strong swell smashing against the harbour wall of Port Ginesta in northern Spain, I was expecting to get quite a pummelling. However, my first thrust of the throttle straight into the face of the weather produced a surprisingly soft ride. Displacing around 2000kg and with 250hp on the back, I was not expecting the HD 240 to be as responsive as she was. That is not to say this boat is underpowered – she is not … but she is quicker than you expect. It was not easy to run the boat flat out considering the weather conditions, but close into shore I was able to squeeze a very lively 43 knots out of her. Given her weight, this is an impressive top speed, and what I would expect if she had 300hp sitting on her stern.
She has a transom deadrise of 20 degrees, and on the day she needed every bit of it. I quickly put away my reservation and started pushing the HD 240 faster into the punishing swell, especially as my Spanish companion was more concerned about his mobile phone than the beating I was dishing out to his boat. I soon came to terms with the fact that 30 knots into the weather was better than 25. That extra 5 knots or more gets the stern up and the bow down, and as well as being more fun to drive, gives a smoother ride. However, I will say that once you start pushing towards 40 knots, you feel the hull’s limitations. I say this because I could feel what I can only describe as a slight lack of continuity between the inner liner and the hull when coming off big waves at high speed. This may sound ominous, but it isn’t – after all, this boat is not a Boston Whaler built to beat its way through big seas, but a bowrider. However, considering this boat is capable of outperforming many of its rivals in rough weather, a bit more strength below would not go amiss.
Four Winns describe the HD 240 as having a ‘stable vee’ hull, the same concept as used on their V255. However, it works a lot better with the HD 240 as the hull is much sharper and the chine flats are not carried so far forward. They are turned down slightly to provide better grip in the turns, which I will say works a treat, as try as I might I could not lose the back end. Four Winns claim the chines also enhance lift and enable the boat to plane at lower speeds than normal, and I will certainly agree on both points. With the V255, the wide downturned chines made the upwind ride quite harsh in rough weather; luckily, with narrower chines the HD 240 does not suffer from this.
There are two other significant hull features that help enhance this boat’s efficiency: firstly, the hull’s keel flattens out to a 10-inch-wide pad towards the stern, and secondly the underside of the bathing platform is in effect a huge GRP stand-off plate onto which the engine is mounted. Being nearly as deep as the hull itself, this behaves like a big trim tab when either powering up onto the plane or when the bow is driven upwards when hitting large waves. Being part of the same moulding as the hull, it is strong enough to mount the engine on, which means that the outboard sits aft of the bathing platform – a unique but effective feature, especially for a water sports boat. Trim tabs are an option that the test boat was fitted with, but I felt no need to use them, though in a beam sea on a constant course they would prove their worth.
Plenty of thought has gone into making good use of every inch of space. Firstly, the bathing platform, which in itself is unusual for an outboard boat, is overlooked by an aft-facing double seat complete with cup holders. I would not have wanted to have sat in it during my test, but on a calmer day it is perfect for watching skiers or swimming children. The cockpit itself has masses of seating and even more storage. The whole aft bench seat lifts up on gas struts to reveal what is called a ‘basement compartment’ – a huge void for storing water toys as well has having space for a 68-litre cool box.
Under the cockpit floor between the helm and navigator’s seats sits a long and deep ski locker, just in case you have filled the basement compartment with inflatables or need somewhere for your wetsuits to drain off and dry. After having discovered this, I was even more surprised to then open a door in front of the navigator’s seat to find a heads compartment complete with sink, which, with 4ft 1in of headroom, is tall enough to get in and sit down. On the downside, both the helmsman and navigator have short seats with no height adjustment, so if you are driving the boat on a lively day and want a clear view over the bow, as I did, you will need to flip up the seat bolsters and sit on them.
The bow section has yet another neatly lined deck storage locker surrounded by wide, thick seating with padded seat backs enabling the occupants to lounge facing forward. Alternatively, with an infill the whole area becomes a giant sunbed. I was disappointed to see that the bow roller lacked the optional anchor – I can only presume that our American cousins do not consider this essential in the Med.
The HD 240 is a broadly talented boat that does not fit into the mould of the average bowrider. I say this because it has many of the abilities of a good sports boat, which many bowriders lack. It has also been carefully thought out with no space being wasted, enabling wet kit to be easily stored and large amounts of food and drink kept cool. In keeping with its function, it has the ability to seat the largest of families easily. Its only downside, which to be fair is small, is that its construction is not quite tough enough for its capable hull when driven hard in the conditions we experienced.
What We Thought
- Fast and efficient
- Good head sea capability from deep-vee hull
- Fast steering
- Proper heads in this size of boat
- Loads of under-deck storage
- Very water sports orientated
- Practicality/safety for bowrider
- Poor visibility from low helm seat without seat bolster up
- A slight lack of rigidity in the internal moulding – felt when driven fast into a big head sea
- An extras list that includes a multitude of items from covers to trim tabs, making the base price artificially low
- LOA: 24ft 4in (7.41m)
- Beam: 8ft 5in (2.55m)
- Draught: 0.50m
- Transom deadrise angle: 20 degrees
- Displacement: 2040kg (dry with engine as tested)
- Power options: 200hp to 300hp (Evinrude, Suzuki, Mercury and Yamaha outboards)
- Fuel capacity: 45 imp gal (205 litres)
- RCD category: C for 11
- Test engine: 250hp Suzuki F250
42.3 knots (2-way average)
- From £62,782 (inc. VAT)
- As tested: £69,550 (inc. VAT) (depending on exchange rate)
Tel: 01778 341144